Professional Development 

What is effective professional development? 

  • Effective professional development is defined as learning that produces changes in teachers’ instructional practice that can be linked to improvements in student achievement (Odden et al., 2002). 


What is the primary purpose of professional development? 

  • The primary purpose of professional development is to prepare and support teachers by giving them the knowledge and skills they need to help all students achieve high standards of learning and development (U.S. Department of Education, 1996). 

Startup Development Team

How does professional development support school- or system-level change? 

  • Professional development programs should support curricular and instructional change that enhances student learning in the personal, social and academic domains. Professional development must have a significant impact on what is taught, how it is taught and the social climate of the school so that students gain in knowledge and skill and increase their learning (Joyce and Showers, 2002b).


The pursuit of more equitable schools requires the building up of the staff members working directly with children, families and, most importantly, one another. To that end, the Center for Equity and Leadership has created a robust series of professional development modules that can be either purchased and delivered by staff or facilitated and led by Dr. Demond Means. The modules include: 


  1. What is educational equity and why is it so important? 

  2. What is the intersection of social justice and educational equity? 

  3. Why is leadership important in advancing social justice and educational equity? 

  4. What should a leader focus on in the classroom, school wide or district wide to achieve social justice and educational equity? 

  5. How can you develop an actionable social justice and educational equity plan now?

  6. What is collective efficacy and how does it intersect with equity efforts in the school? 

  7. What should a faculty, leadership team or leader do when initial equity efforts have failed or been rebuffed or opposed?


Professional development can also be customized to fit the needs and focus of the school or school system. All professional development modules include PowerPoint and script, activities and a two-week review activities.